'Temples Not Picnic Spot, Hindus Have Right Too' Says Madras HC On Entry To Non-Hindus In TN Temples

'Temples Not Picnic Spot, Hindus Have Right Too' Says Madras HC On Entry To Non-Hindus In TN Temples

"Temples are not picnic spots and Hindus too like other communities have the right to practice their religion without interference", Justice S Srimathy of the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Wednesday, January 31, 2024, 11:25 AM IST
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Madurai temple | File Photo

Madurai: Temples are not picnic spots and Hindus too like other communities have the right to practice their religion without interference, Justice S Srimathy of the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court said, according to Bar and Bench. "The State Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department should ensure non-Hindus are not permitted to enter beyond the flagpole area of the Palani temple (Arulmigu Dhandayuthapaniswamy Temple) and its sub-temples in Tamil Nadu", the court said.

The state government should “install boards indicating non-Hindus are not allowed” inside the temple premises beyond the flag pole, it told the Tamil Nadu government while hearing a petition filed by D Senthilkumar, organiser of Palani Hill Temple Devotees Organisation, seeking directions from the court for installation of such prohibitory boards and signages. If any non-Hindu wishes to enter the temple, a written undertaking should be obtained from such person that she believes in Hindu religion, its customs and the temple deities, Justice Srimathy ordered. This undertaking should be entered in the register maintained by the temple, the court said. The respondents shall also strictly follow the agamas, customs and practices of the temple, it directed.

Story of Palani hilltop

In June last year, a Muslim family with several women in “Burqas”, had purchased tickets at the winch station to go to the Palani hilltop, the temple’s premises, Senthilkumar pointed out. The family, which wanted to go to the hilltop to click pictures, argued that there was no board barring the entry of non-Hindus, he told the court. The judge refused to accept the state government’s apprehension that installing such boards around the temple and the hilltop where it is situated, might hurt the religious sentiments of visitors, who throng the area not only to visit the sanctum sanctorum of the temple but also to take in the view from the hill top.

Such apprehension is misplaced because not prohibiting non-Hindus was likely to hurt the sentiments of the Hindu believers and worshippers. Hindus too have a right to freely profess and propagate their religion, the judge underscored, according to Bar and Bench

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